Author to share experience of hunt for notorious African warlord with Aberdeen audience

Author to share experience of hunt for notorious African warlord with Aberdeen audience

The author behind a book which inspired the University of Aberdeen’s first common reading programme is to visit the University.

Matthew Green, who penned the Wizard of the Nile, will spend two days in the Granite City talking to audiences about his hunt for one of the world’s most wanted fugitives – the African warlord Joseph Kony.

Green, a former East Africa correspondent for the news agency Reuters, grew frustrated that so little was known about a man who the United Nations accused of causing "the biggest forgotten and neglected humanitarian emergency in the world", so in 2006 he took six months off and set about tracking Kony down, hoping to fill in the blanks about this most mysterious of African militiamen.

It was a journey which brought him face-to-face with the victims abducted, raped or maimed by Kony's soldiers, the refugees living in poverty and fear in overcrowded camps, and the mediators trying to bring peace to the divided land.

The book in which he documents this journey, The Wizard of the Nile, was chosen for the University of Aberdeen’s Big Read programme, launched in September 2012.

A free copy of his work was sent to every Arts and Social Sciences ‘fresher’ and the book was used as way for new students to get to know one another during their first weeks at the University.

Freshers’ Week activities centred around The Wizard of the Nile, with a matriculation lecture and activities organised by various clubs and societies.

Common reading programmes are popular in the US and are used by institutions such as Cornell University and Ohio State University as a way to introduce students to University level thinking but Aberdeen was one of the first institutions in the UK to combine the concept with a wider programme of events.

Green’s visit will give students who have studied his work across a range of subjects the chance to engage with the author on Thursday November 22 and Friday November 23.

On Thursday (November 22) Green will also host a question and answer session at King’s College Conference Centre which is open to parents, alumni of the University and the public.

Dr Karen Salt, Director of the Big Read project, said: “The Wizard of the Nile was extremely successful in providing new students with a common interest to help their integration into University life and to stimulate academic thinking on an issue with which young people are already engaged.

“The feedback from students has been very positive so we are delighted that Matthew Green will be joining us in Aberdeen.

“His visit will enable students to engage further with the issues covered in the book and we hope that the wider community as well as parents and alumni will join us to hear Green discuss his hunt for Kony.”

Green will be in conversation with Professor Jane Stevenson, of the School of History, at 6.30pm on Thursday November 22 in King’s College Conference Centre, University of Aberdeen.  This will be followed by a question and answer session with audience members.

The event is free of charge but places must be booked in advance at www.abdnalumni.org/bigread or call 01224 273278. For those unable to attend in person it will be streamed live at www.abdn.ac.uk/virtual/live-stream.php

For further details about the Big Read project visit www.abdn.ac.uk/thebigread/

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